A WRITER is celebrating the launch of his second novel set in North- East gangland as his first is in the running to be made into a TV film.

Howard Linskey, 44, originally from Ferryhill, sees his second book, The Damage, hit the bookshelves this week.

Based in Newcastle's crime underworld it is the follow up to his novel The Drop and the second part of a proposed trilogy.

The former journalist, who now lives in Hertfordshire with his wife, Alison, and daughter Erin, saw The Drop praised by fans and critics.

Now David Barron, a producer on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows PartOne and Part Two has shown an interest.

"He has taken up an option on making it into a movie and has brought in JJ Connolly, who wrote the gangstermovie Layer Cake, to pen a screen version, " said Mr Linskey. "It's been an amazing year.

"For a first-time novelist to get such praise and then to have his book optioned for TV is amazing. I've had people sendmemessages saying they really enjoyed The Drop and the fact that it features places they'd been to.

"It's great to have new crime fiction about Newcastle as most people think of crime in the city as Get Carter and that's 40 years old."

The Damage took a year to write and is set a few years in the future from The Drop.

The Newcastle United fan's first writing experience came five years ago while working for the club's fanzine The Mag. He has also worked on several newspapers in the North-West.

He added: "I really like writing about the North-East. I've always loved Newcastle and it's the place we went to for shops, for a night out and to watch football.

"It's a great place, but there's always the feeling of a criminal undercurrent there and there are some hard folks in Newcastle."

He plans a third Blake book set in Newcastle's gangland and he has ideas for a story featuring a failed journalist involved in a North-East crime mystery.

The Damage is priced at £7.99 and goes on sale from Friday.